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More turmoil engulfs Parramatta

The bid of former Eels chairman Roy Spagnolo to return to the Parramatta Leagues Club board has hit a major roadblock after he was called to answer a series of allegations raised by an independent investigation into his three-year administration.

Spagnolo was issued with a show-cause letter earlier this month asking him to explain a list of financial irregularities uncovered after an exhaustive audit of the ailing club's management practices by the firm Russell Corporate Advisory that resulted in a 900-page report.

He is due to provide a response or front a hearing on Tuesday, when the Parramatta board next meets, and could have his membership suspended, and his desire to return to the Leagues Club board quashed, should he be unable to produce satisfactory explanations for the abnormalities raised in the Russell report. ''After the election of the new Parramatta Leagues board in May 2013, an external company was commissioned to undertake a wide-ranging internal review of the the Parramatta Leagues Group,'' a Parramatta Leagues Group spokesperson said.

''This of course is a common and prudent practice when there has been a significant change within a large corporate group. A board committee has asked the previous chairman to assist with the understanding of various matters arising out of the report. Parramatta Leagues is unaware how that appears to have become public knowledge.

''This is an ongoing process without any particular time frame. Any speculation before the process has been completed is inappropriate and regrettable.''

Contacted by Fairfax Media Spagnolo said: ''I don't wish to make any comment.''

Spagnolo, whose 3P ticket shot to power at Parramatta in 2009, was ousted from the board at the club elections in May when the ParraFirst ticket led by premiership-winning forward Steve Sharp seized control.

Beset by boardroom factionalism and instability, the Eels have in the past week been on the lookout for a new coach and chief executive, the latter position being filled by their general manager of membership Scott Seward.

In the midst of the upheaval Spagnolo, who remains chair of the Parramatta District Rugby League, has been angling for a return to claim one of the two vacant seats on the seven-member Leagues Club board that runs the Eels. The club's constitution had cleared the way for him to do so.

It states that three directors from the football club board must sit on the Leagues Club board and the resignations of Eric Grothe snr and Sid Kelly mean Sharp is now the only member of both boards, placing Spagnolo and another ousted director, Mario Libertini, as the only two other eligible candidates to fill the other spots.

After another season of turmoil, however, the three-month-old Parramatta administration led by Sharp is reserving the right to perform due diligence on Spagnolo's fitness to serve as a director again.

The subject will come to a head on Tuesday without one Eels board member present as Lawrence Shepherd is away in New York on business.

There have been a succession of departures at the wooden-spooners since Sharp's ticket assumed control. Leagues Club chief executive Bob Bentley and operations manager Tony Cinque were shown the door in July and football club chief executive Ken Edwards parted ways with the club in the same month.

Twitter -@Chris Barrett_

9 comments so far

  • Deserve everything they get. Allowing players to sack coaches for over a decade. The Eels had one golden peak which was luck and it will never be repeated.

    Commenter
    Serial Pest
    Date and time
    September 22, 2013, 7:45AM
    • Why is this offensive comment by Serial Pest allowed to be posted?

      Commenter
      Muzza
      Date and time
      September 22, 2013, 9:14AM
    • Serial Pest, go troll someplace else. Everyone knows with the right leaders and some new blood the eels will bounce back, it may take 5 yrs, but they will be back! And you will still just be a serial ..pist

      Commenter
      peta
      Date and time
      September 22, 2013, 2:18PM
  • whoever hired stuart and kearny should be made accountable.. back to back wooden spoons..... Parra really need to get these board decisions right..

    Commenter
    Ron
    Location
    Nelson
    Date and time
    September 22, 2013, 9:44AM
    • Agreed! Very bad decisions. And paying Sandow so much was a bad move also. Eels fans have ripped off badly in the last few seasons with so many wrong choices from the staff.

      Commenter
      Jessie
      Date and time
      September 22, 2013, 2:42PM
  • Mr Spagnolo really needs to get another life, and to move on.

    Swallow your pride for the good of the club, its supporters, and the community.

    There are broader issues that need to be resolved, and you remaining so self-centred is consuming valuable time and resources that would be far more productive if applied elsewhere.

    Commenter
    Roger
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    September 22, 2013, 11:24AM
    • Why does the media refuse to ask two very simple questions to all the board members. Do you honestly want the Parramatta football team to be successful? Second question would you vote for the team to be handed back to the football club to manage while you as elected board members of the Leagues Club do you job which is look after the leagues club? This dual board membership thing was set up by Fitzgerald to maintain power. If any board member refuses to allow this to be reversed is looking after themselves first!

      Commenter
      Board question
      Date and time
      September 22, 2013, 8:17PM
      • People have short memories from the time Parramatta entered the competition in 1947 they have won more wooden spoons than any other team. Apart from the golden era of the 80's and the odd good season before and after they have never been a real competitive force in the competition. It is just a case of things settling naturally and unfortunately for Parramatta that's the wooden spoon and their record is 6 in a row so they are well on the way to breaking it.

        Commenter
        Greg
        Date and time
        September 22, 2013, 11:52PM
        • Board need to be held accountable and an investigation done. Why was Daniel Anderson gotten rid of in the first place. Stability needed with players, coaches and board. The poor fans have had just about enough of their great club being thrown in mud

          Commenter
          Pure Blonde
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          September 24, 2013, 9:02AM

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